Plate Decorated with a Story of Bahrām Gōr from Turushevy


In the summer of 1927, a shepherd named Andrei and his grandson, Ivanko, found a hoard of silver vessels while searching for one of the village cows that went missing. Ivanko fell into a hole while walking along the edge of a forest near Turushevy (Турушевы). Turushevy, located along the right bank of the Kama River, was then called Turushevo (Турушево) and located in the Omutninskii County (Омутнинский Уезд) of the Viatka Governorate (Вятская Губерния) of the early Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. In this hole, Ivanko found a large silver bucket holding four plates (this one decorated with a story of Bahrām Gōr, a royal hunt, a rosette, and a cross), two multi-spouted vessels (decorated with an elephant, and different animals), and two torcs (grivnas) (Shmidt 1933, 25; Bortvin 1935, 3-5; Trever and Lukonin 1987, 126). Ivanko and his grandfather decided to give their neighbors, the Shiriaevs, the vessels because they could not find their lost cow. Ivan and Mar’ ia Shiriaev utilized the vessels for several years: the bucket became a pot for boiling pelmeni, the multi-spouted vessel with an elephant held salt, the multi-spouted vessel with different animals held fat, and the dish with the cross joined the icon corner. They cut up the grivnas to make nails for hanging horse equipment (Trever and Lukonin 1987, 126; Bortvin 1935, 6). 

Some years later, the state land department’s housing proprietor noticed these vessels while in the village and notified the local museums, for which he was rewarded (Bortnin 1935, 7). State authorities then collected the vessels and took them to the Sverdlovsk Oblast’ Regional Museum in Ekaterinburg (then, the Ural Oblast’ State Museum in Sverdlovsk). The museum then transferred most of the items, including all four plates and the bucket, to the State Hermitage Museum in 1930. The multi-spouted vessel with different animals (and perhaps also that with the elephant?) was transferred later in 1935. The seven vessels from Turushevy are still in the State Hermitage Museum today; this plate has the number S-252.

The village of Turushevy is presently located in the Afanas’evskii District (Афанасьевский Район), Kirov Province/Oblast’ (Кировская Область), Russian Federation.

Inscription & Other Marking Notes

A Middle Persian inscription is located on the base of the vessel in three lines. The reading of the inscription states the owner of the vessel, a Mihrbozet/Mihrbozed, and the weight. Livshits and Lukonin read it with a weight of 250 drachms (Livshits and Lukonin 1964, № 8), and Brunner reads it as ’71 staters, 3 drachms’ (Brunner 1977, № 12).

Technical Notes

silver with gilding / 21.7 cm diameter / 1155.6 g weight

Major Eurasian Silver Publications

Marshak, B. I. Istoriia vostochnoi torevtiki III-XIII vv. i problemy kul’turnoi preemstvennosti. Saint Petersburg: Akademiia Issledovaniia Kul’tury, 2017. [ris. 183]

Marshak (Marschak), B. I. Silberschätze des Orients: Metallkunst des 3.-13. Jahrhunderts und Ihre Kontinuität. Leipzig: E.A. Seemann, 1986. [№ 183]

Orbeli, I. A., and K. V. Trever. Sasanidskii metall khudozhestvennye predmenty iz zolota, serebra, i bronzy. Moscow-Leningrad: Akademiia, 1935. [T. 12]

Trever, K. V., and V. G. Lukonin. Sasanidskoe serebro: sobranie Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha: khudozhestvenniia kul’tura Irana III-VIII vekov. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1987. [T. 26-27 № 13]

Additional Bibliography

Bortvin, N. N. “Po sledam vostochnykh karavanov.” Ural’skii Sledopyt 9/1935 (1935): 3-13.

Brunner, Christopher J. “Middle Persian Inscriptions on Sasanian Silverware.” Metropolitan Museum Journal 9 (1974): 109–21.

Livshits, V. A., and V. G. Lukonin. “Srednepersidskie i Sogdiiskie nadpisi na serebrianykh sosudakh.” Vestnik Drevnei Istorii, no. 3 (1964): 155-176.

Lukonin (Loukonine), V. and A. Ivanov. Lost Treasures of Persia: Persian Art in the Hermitage Museum. Washington, D.C: Mage, 1996).

Overlaet, Bruno, ed. Splendeur des Sassanides: l’empire perse entre Rome et la Chine, 224-642. Brussels: Musées royaux d’art et d’histoire, 1993.

Shmidt, A. V. “Raboty po istorii material’noi kul’tury Urala za 15 let.” Problemy istorii material’noi kul’tury 9-10 (1933): 25.

Image Credits

Featured Image

State Hermitage Museum Website

Page Images

(1) State Hermitage Museum Website

(2) Author’s own photograph